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Murdered By Manson?
May 9, 2016
Nearly 5 decades after her body was found, Reet Jurvetson is finally identified by police. Did the Manson family kill her?
Murdered By Manson? image

On the afternoon of Nov. 16, 1969, a birdwatcher spotted the body of a young woman tangled in dense brush off L.A.’s scenic Mulholland Drive. The victim, who had no identification on her, had been stabbed in the neck 150 times in what police believe was a “rage” killing. “It was personal,” says Los Angeles Police Department Det. Luis Rivera. “It was a maniac . . . or love gone wrong.”

The timing and MO of the murder— just three months earlier, Sharon Tate and several others had been viciously stabbed to death by the Manson “family” a few miles away—fueled speculation that the victim could be connected to that case.Anda caretakeratthe Manson ranch told the police that the woman resembled a “hippie named Sherry”who had spent time with the “family.” But police were unable to identify the woman, who became known as Jane Doe No. 59. Until now. After 46 years of mystery, police tell People exclusively she is Reet Jurvetson, a 19-year-old Montreal woman who moved to Los Angeles in1969 looking for excitement and adventure. “Manson claims there are other victims,” says now retired LAPD Det. Cliff Shepard, who reopened
the Jane Doe investigation in 2003. “She could have been someone who was at Spahn Ranch.” Adds Detective Rivera, who, along with partner Det. Veronica Conrado, interviewed Charles Manson in prison as part of their investigation of the case: “We can’t rule out that the Manson family was involved.”

‘Jane Doe No.59 now has a name.  She had one all along, but no one knew’

The break in the case came last June, when a friend of Jurvetson’s saw her postmortem photograph online and told Jurvetson’s sister Anne, who then contacted law enforcement. Authorities matched Anne’s DNA with DNA from a bloody bra found on the victim’s body. “Although our family continuously hoped that one day Reet would return home, I eventually came to the conclusion that she had probably passed away,” Anne said in a statement to People. “It is such a sad, helpless kind of feeling to always question, to never know. . . . After all these years, we are faced with hard facts. My little sister was savagely
killed. It was not what I wanted to hear.”

Reet was born in Sweden in 1950 and moved with her family as an infant to Montreal. After developing a “taste for adventure and freedom,” according to her sister, the “free-spirited and happy” teen flew to L.A. in the summer of 1969 to visit a man named John she had met in a Toronto coffee shop. “She was smitten by him,” says Rivera. After she arrived, she sent her family a postcard to let them know she was happy and had a nice apartment. But after the postcard, her family never heard from her again. “As incredible as it seems, my parents never thought to report Reet missing to the police,” her sister said. “They thought that she was just living her life somewhere.”

Rivera says he is determined to identify the mysterious “John”—“He is the best lead we have,” he says—and to solve Jurvetson’s murder. “No one deserves what happened to her,” he says. “It’s our job to find out who’s responsible and bring them to justice.”

©   Christine Pelisek